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Ukraine: the United States and Russia hold “constructive” talks, but fears of war remain

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held urgent talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, amid growing fears the Kremlin is giving the order to invade Ukraine .

Russia has 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border but denies plans to invade the country.

Lavrov called them “constructive and helpful” and said Washington had agreed to provide written responses to Russian requests to Ukraine and NATO next week.

It could at least delay any conflict for a few days, but Lavrov added: “I can’t say whether we are on the right track or not,” he told reporters. “We will understand this when we receive the written response from the United States to all of our proposals.”

Hopes faded ahead of the talks and upon his arrival Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would not be intimidated: “We are not afraid of anyone, not even the United States.

The summit between senior US and Russian diplomats followed Mr. Blinken’s meetings this week with Ukraine’s president in Kiev and with EU allies in Berlin.

President Vladimir Putin has made demands of the West, including assurances that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO and orders for the Western defense alliance to halt military activities in Eastern Europe. ‘East.

President Joe Biden said he believed Russia would attack Ukraine and warned Moscow would face a “heavy price” if it did.

The US leader described a potential full-scale invasion of the country as “the most significant thing that has happened in the world in terms of war and peace since World War II”.

In Kiev on Wednesday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated Washington’s demands for Russia to defuse the situation by withdrawing its forces from the border area.

Following talks in Berlin with British, French and German officials on Thursday, Mr Blinken said a possible Russian invasion would “take us all back to a much more dangerous and unstable time”.

Meanwhile, Mr Ryabkov said Moscow would not back down from its demands. He said Russia had no intention of invading Ukraine, but added that receiving security guarantees from the West on the reduction of NATO activity in Eastern Europe was not negotiable.

On Thursday, the United States claimed that Russian intelligence services were recruiting current and former Ukrainian government officials to pave the way for a government takeover in Kyiv.

The U.S. Treasury issued a statement accusing the Kremlin of “directing its intelligence services to recruit current and former Ukrainian government officials to prepare to take over the Ukrainian government and control Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.” with a Russian occupying force”.

The Independent Gt

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